The Western Hemisphere Institute for Security Cooperation
January 17, 2001
Twenty Years of Service
The Western Hemisphere Institute for Security Cooperation (WHINSEC) opened its doors on January 17, 2001, in Ridgway Hall, the original home of the U.S. Army’s Infantry School and headquarters of Fort Benning.
Beginning in March 2004, the Institute adopted the Command and General Staff College’s (CGSC) instructional model, from the Combined Arms Center (CAC), in Fort Leavenworth, Kansas.
As Fort Benning transitioned to the Maneuver Center of Excellence (MCoE) in 2008, WHINSEC moved to Collins, Lewis, and Greene Halls, with modular buildings to house classrooms. At that time, it was re-organized into three components or schools:
- The School of Professional Military Education (SPME)
- School of Specialized Studies (SSS)
- The Roy Benavidez NCO Academy (NCOA)
In July 2010, the historic Station Hospital at Fort Benning became WHINSEC’s permanent campus. This was followed with state-of-the-art 21st Century classrooms in 2014. That year, the Center for Human Rights and Democracy (CHRD) was created to meet Combatant Command needs to provide partner nation leaders’ broader human rights instruction.
As partner nations needs evolved, a Law Enforcement Agency (LEA) Deputy Commandant and Academic Dean were added to bring the Institute’s leadership to its current structure.
In June 2020, the Faculty and Staff Development Division (FSDD) transitioned to the Center for Faculty and Staff Development (CFSD). This move helps standardize basic instructor qualifications with partner nations and expand WHINSEC’s ability to develop instructors throughout the Hemisphere.
Since 2001, WHINSEC has trained and educated more than 24,000 students—military, law enforcement, and civilian—representing 36 countries. Its students and faculty have earned 219 Master’s degrees, 141 through civilian university partnerships, and 78 Masters of Military Arts and Science (MMAS) through the Command and General Staff College of Fort Leavenworth, KS. The Institute respects each country’s unique culture and conducts dedicated independence celebrations for each partner nation, culminating with an annual International Festival.